My corner of the quilt show

Spring weather has finally come to town, and in Ottawa that happily coincides with the Tulip Festival and the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild Festival of Quilts. While the Tulip Festival runs from May 6-23, the quilt show runs only on Mother’s Day weekend, May 6-8, and will be at the RA Centre (click here for Google map). So if you’re going to be in town, or you need an excuse for driving on over, come join us!

 The biannual OVQG quilt show is non-juried, and the only requirements for submitting a quilt are that one of the quilters be an OVQG member and that the quilt never have been shown at a previous OVQG show. As a relatively new Ottawan I had a few older quilts I was able to enter. So for those of you who won’t be here to see them in person, these are the 5 wall quilts I’ve entered.

Amish Wedding Ring (25” x 25”) 1993 . Using traditional Amish colours and non-traditional piecing techniques, I made this small quilt in a class taught by Lydia Quigley and Elizabeth Lake. To create the arch, we strip pieced the “chiclets” and later sewed along or close to the same seam, tapering as we went. The centre of each block is hand quilted, while the quilting that outlines the rings is machine stitched.

Tire Tracks Through the Jungle (27” x 35”). Below, left. This quilt was created for a 1993 challenge run by the Quilter’s Choice in Kingston, ON. The challenge was to incorporate a Mary Ellen Hopkins fabric called Tire Tracks Through the Mud, the red/gold/blue fabric with the black blotches, somewhere in the design. This is one of several quilts I’ve made that were inspired by Mary Ellen Hopkins’s book Bakers Dozen Doubled.

Violet Menorah (23” x 23” 2008. Above, right. All participants in a Jewish art festival were asked to bring an interpretation of a Jewish candelabrum called a menorah, using their medium, and my interpretation was rather traditional. This original design was made by “unraveling” two Celtic braid designs and combining them into the T design you see here, as well as reworking the design at the base to create the stand. Small pieces of plastic under the flames’ fabric add dimensionality. A nine-branch menorah, also called a chanukiah, would be used to celebrate Chanukah.

Home by 4 (42” x 36”) 2010. This simple 4-patch set on point is made mostly of fabric from the Peace on Earth line by 3 Sisters for Moda. I like the warm, homey feel created by the fabrics.

Dancing Shoo Flies I (38” x 38”) 2011. You already know about this quilt because I blogged about it here a few months ago. What I love about this pattern is its simplicity, movement, and spirit.

 Now I gotta get busy. Only two years to make more for the next show.

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Setting things straight

In a previous post I showed pictures of my Dancing Shoo Flies I quilt and talked about how I managed to create such wavy edges. Since then, the unintended wonkiness of the quilt really got to me and I decided it had to be fixed — even if it meant removing the binding or other drastic measures.

But first I turned to the internet to see if there was a simpler solution. Most bloggers and discussion boards try to solve the problem of uneven or wavy borders on a quilt top. Only a few talk about fixing a quilt after it’s been quilted. A couple of sources suggested blocking the quilt the way you would a knitted garment prior to sewing it together.

Because that was the easiest and least invasive option, I started there. Blocking. And believe it or not… success! With so little information about this on the web, I thought I’d describe how I did it. 

Before (top), during (middle), after steaming

I lay one of the wavy edges onto the ironing board, and about 3 inches from the quilt’s edge I pinned it flat to the board. You can see the green glass pin heads in the second image. Once the quilt was anchored I pinned the binding to the board, right where the coloured border and the binding meet, and used extra pins in the particularly wavy sections. These are a bit more difficult to see, but they’re there.

With the iron set to linen and maximum steam, I held the iron just above the quilt and blasted away. Sometimes I had to hold down the steam button and other times the steam burst forth by itself. Once the steam dispersed I moved the iron to the next section and blasted there. After making two passes across the width of the quilt I left the quilt to cool. For the third picture (above) I removed the pins along the binding, and you can see how much flatter the quilt lies than in the first picture.

Flatter Dancing Shoo Flies I on my design wall